A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ben Ali Speaks, Blames Foreign Media

Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has addressed the country about the recent waves of demonstrations.

He is quick to blame foreign media for blowing things out of proportion:

I have been following with anxiety and concern the events that took place over the recent days in Sidi Bouzid.

While these events were triggered by one social case, of which we understand the circumstances and psychological factors and whose consequences are regrettable, the exaggerated turn that these events have taken, as a result of their political manipulation by some sides who do not wish good to the homeland and resort to some foreign television channels which broadcast false and unchecked allegations and rely on dramatisation, fabrication and defamation hostile to Tunisia, requires from us to clarify some issues and confirm the truths that must be taken into consideration . .

Though he isn't specific, elsewhere Al Jazeera is being singled out. (Link in Arabic) After blaming the messengers, he goes on to outline economic and development accomplishments of the regime and pledge to help the unemployed. You can find the entire text in English here.

1 comment:

David Mack said...

As long as the Tunisian economic performance was robust, Ben Ali felt he did not need to share political power. Now that the cracks are more visible, he cannot share the blame. As leader of a state which controls its own media, he probably assumes that other governments are behind the critical foreign media.